Meet the Head of St Edmund's Junior School, Matthew Jelley
PUBLISHED: 15:44 05 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:44 05 March 2016
Star Wars, the value of 'not yet' and actually liking rice pudding
Tell us a bit about you
I grew up in Warwickshire and was schooled in Coventry. Both my parents were teachers and despite their well-intentioned overtures to get me to reconsider, having felt the real effects of a suffering profession throughout the 1980s, I was firmly committed to teaching from a young age.
To top off my flagrant disregard of parental advice, I ignored their calls for me to train as a primary specialist and took a PGCE in secondary English, at UEA, where I also gained a BA (Hons) degree in English and American Literature.
Having lived and taught in Greater London and Cambridge, I now live in Canterbury, with my wife Felicia, three children, Lily, Rose and Alfred, a dog and two cats.
I am a keen sportsman and love both poetry and prose (reading and writing).
When did you become head teacher here?
I have been Head of St Edmund’s Junior School since September 2015. I was attracted to the post by the chance to work in a through school with a family oriented ethos; St Edmund’s is a school where we value the individual, and in knowing the children so well we can make a real difference to both their academic and social progress.
If not teaching, what might you have done?
Wistful moments have me as a professional footballer, or a writer. Maybe a combination of the two is more realistic a proposition, so I’d suggest a sports journalist. Or perhaps a lawyer. As you can see from this indecision, I was pretty focused on making a success of teaching and didn’t really have a plan B.
Your favourite lessons at school?
English, History and Games.
Least-favourite school dinner?
I was lucky: my experience of school dinners was positive (and I like rice pudding). Both in primary and secondary school the food was well prepared and delicious, and meal times were a real social occasion where pupils and staff mixed freely. St Edmund’s caterers Holroyd Howe are successful in meeting these high expectations.
What book changed your life/way of thinking?
It would be naïve to think that reading hadn’t shaped my thinking in some way, shape or form, but any impact reading has had is due to the combined effect of the range of literature read rather than one book itself. If pushed, I’d have to say that Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway inspired me as seminal texts.
What is your favourite film?
Films, like music, provide a narrative to stages of my life so I don’t have a favourite film but there are movies which are resonant of particular years. Star Wars has to be in there, and I’m looking forward to seeing the latest release.
How do you relax?
Running, playing football, playing with the kids, socialising with friends, a good book. Exercise is both my release and relaxation.
What makes you most proud of your school?
We know the value of “Not Yet.”
“I don’t understand this, Miss.”
“I haven’t been selected for the A Team.”
We have a resolute commitment to positive thinking. It’s really refreshing and makes every day both a challenge and a joy.
If you could be Prime Minister for a day, what would you do for education?
Address the issue of the numbers of graduates who consider teaching as an attractive career option and also the worrying trend whereby our colleagues in the maintained sector are making the tough decision to leave the profession. ww
Maths or English?
School dinners or packed lunches?
School dinners. They’re superb!
Newsletter or Twitter?
Newsletter. I like to keep an eye on Twitter but I’m more song, less tweet.
Find out more
St Edmund’s School
St Thomas Hill, Canterbury CT2 8HU